Proctor mansion stands empty after sale voided
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | July 10,2014
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
The former Redfield Proctor Jr. estate was sold for $437,500 at auction last summer, but a court settlement has voided the sale.
PROCTOR — Eleven months after the grand Proctor mansion sold at auction, the venerable estate stands empty and its future is anything but clear.
The brick colonial revival estate on Ormsbee Avenue, built in 1915 by Redfield Proctor Jr., sold at auction Aug. 6, 2013, for $437,500 to Puneet and Christine Rikhy.
The Virginia couple closed on the property a month later and had begun cleaning and repairing parts of the estate when Puneet Rikhy said he and his wife had a rude discovery.
“We learned there was a reverse mortgage on the property and that the funds from the sale were insufficient to pay the balance,” he said in a phone interview this week.
In fact, the $437,500 the couple paid at auction didn’t cover half of the $993,421 that former owners David and Madelin Boots owed to a reverse mortgage company in Seattle, Wash., according to records in Rutland civil court.
The discovery began a legal fight that lasted until the end of February, when a court settlement canceled the sale.
During the months that the case was in court, Rikhy said the purchase price, which he paid in cash, was tied up in an escrow account. In addition, the couple paid $40,000 for the mansion’s furnishings — and replaced most of it after the August auction.
“Quite frankly, what was in the home wasn’t worth $40,000,” he said. “We threw almost all of it out.”
Staff at the Proctor town clerk’s office said the Rikhys’ new furnishings are gone — either taken by the Boots, who live on a macadamia farm in Hawaii — or sold at an auction last month.
The complaint about overpaying for the furniture was not part of the court action, however.
The Rikhys also put money into cleaning and maintenance, he said, and paid to repair a heating system that was inoperable.
Many of those expenses were never recovered. The couple vacated the property after having spent only three nights in the home.
The mansion now stands empty with chains blocking the both entrances to the semicircular driveway.
The court settlement reverted ownership of the estate to the Boots — who couldn’t be reached by cellphone or through their Rutland lawyer, Victor Segale, this week.
But officials in the Proctor town clerk’s office who spoke with David Boots before the furniture auction last month said the owner planned to “walk away from the property.”
For Rikhy, who said he was still out $20,000 after the legal settlement, the loss of the historic property hurt as much as the financial impact.
“I really loved that house and had been trying to buy it for five years,” he said.
He produced a 2010 email showing the Boots rejected his $750,000 offer for the property.
“It was the weirdest set of circumstances in a real estate transaction that I’ve ever had,” Rikhy said.